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B.C. opposition MPs press federal government to support mark-selective fishery

MPs from across B.C. are calling for a mark-selective chinook fishery for the upcoming public fishing season.

That’s where people are allowed to catch and keep fish that bear the mark that shows they come from a hatchery, and were not born in the wild. 

North-Island Powell River MP, Rachel Blaney, says this is a way of preserving our wild salmon stocks while supporting the sportfishing industry.

“One of the things that we know is that there is a system where hatchery chinook fish could be marked, which would alert people when they are out fishing that they could keep the mark-selective chinook and let the wild chinook continue on their way during the parts of the year when we are not allowed to catch those ones,” Blaney said.

Blaney added that this would also be important for our tourism industry, to have people come into the region to fish.

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There is already a mark-selective fishery for Coho on the southern BC coast, and for Chinook in Washington and Oregon. 

The MPs from 25 B.C. ridings and three opposition parties have co-signed a letter to fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan.

They include Blaney, NDP fisheries critic Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, along with six other NDP MPs, 13 Conservative MPs, and two Green MPs.

Blaney has also relaunched a web page where you can support this initiative.

It’s asking the federal fisheries ministry to implement a mark-selective public fishery for hatchery chinook salmon

It’s calling on Jordan to:

  • direct the DFO to purchase and begin operations of adipose fin-clipping machinery for the existing production of chinook hatcheries in the Pacific region; and
  • as soon as the adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon reach the minimum legal size for retention, implement a mark-selective fishery for hatchery marked chinook salmon.

“We want to see the minister invest in this because hatcheries would actually need the machinery to do this work, but it would really open up opportunities for our region,” Blaney said.

You can link to it here

“From the Tyee Club in Campbell River, to the guides and tackle shops in communities from Powell River to Port Hardy, to parents and grandparents teaching kids how to catch a meal, the public fishery is such an important part of life on the coast,” Blaney said. 

“A mark selective fishery for chinook salmon would ensure these cultural, recreational and economic activities can continue, while needed conservation measures are in place to protect endangered wild salmon stocks.”

The letter cites the importance of the public fishery both as an economic driver and for local food security for coastal communities, in particular coming through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There has never been a time where the ability of individuals to provide for their own food security in a safe manner has been more relevant or necessary,” it stated.

“We believe that it is possible and necessary for mark selective Chinook fisheries to be implemented in a manner that supports restoration and conservation of Pacific salmon, especially at-risk populations. Therefore, we are asking you to support mark selective fisheries that are properly designed, implemented, and monitored to prevent unintended impacts on unmarked or untargeted fish of wild origin.”

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